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Friday, December 4, 2009

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Dustin Browder Discusses StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Team Liquid has posted a new Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty Q&A with Blizzard Entertainment's Dustin Browder. The questions cover a range of topics related to the game's units, interface, and design challenges. StarCraft 2 will pick up a few years after the end of Broodwar and will follow the story of the Terrans.

TL: What types of challenges do you face when trying to balance the needs of the casual player versus the rage of hardcore players like in the progaming community. You had mentioned the macro mechanics being a big one.
DB: Sure that's definitely a big one – it's a place where we feel we can definitely do better but it then does break other systems. You know a great example I love reading on Teamliquid and elsewhere were not so much that you guys were missing clicks – some people said that and I didn't agree with that – but that we were missing the difference between a macro player and a micro player. That we were destroying the sense of style of the player. I could be playing a micro game and you could be playing a macro game with both the same race, and we are still playing a very different game from one another. And when I saw that I was like “Ohh!” I was opening my eyes like “Thanks! THERE IT IS! That's great! That's genius! That's exactly what we need to try to accomplish”.

So yeah, it's always a challenge. It's very easy to make units and abilities and missions and UI that appeals to the hardcore gamer. It's also very easy to make those kind of decisions that appeal to the very casual gamer. The real challenge is making it easy to learn and difficult to master, which makes everybody happy. The casual gamer has learned it easily, the hardcore guy is finding it very difficult to master. And like I've said before, and you see this in World of Warcraft all the time – there's not a hardcore gamer and a casual gamer, there's a continuum. Casual gamers can and will become hardcore gamers if you let them. If you create a game that's easy to learn, the casual guy will come and sit down and play. And if you make it really difficult to master, what you are allowing him to do is play week after week, month after month and still learn something new. Then there's always some reason for him to come back and so he'll become a hardcore gamer over time. I can't tell you how many soccer moms I've raided with – it's ridiculous. These people according to conventional gaming wisdom would never be hardcore gamers, but they have better gear than I do! And I'm the archetype of a hardcore gamer, buying 3 or 4 games a month and staying up into the wee hours of the morning to play. Yet here are the soccer moms out there with their purple gear and epic mounts.

So what is that? I don't know but it's not the usual breakdown between casual and hardcore. You've made a game where they are allowed to get into it and enjoy it easily but they have a lot of trouble mastering it and become us. So that is the goal, and that is always challenging. That's when it's easy to come up with something for the casuals but doesn't have any depth – so what's the point? It's very easy to come up with something that has a lot of depth and nobody will understand. So we definitely go back and forth, and that's one of the reasons it takes us so damned long to make our games. Cause this stuff is hard – we're smart guys but we're not geniuses, so we have to work at it and put a lot of effort into it. So we just grind on it until we've got it to a place we are happy with.
Check out the page below for the rest of the interview.

Team Liquid: StarCraft II Interview
Blizzard Entertainment
StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
Buy StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty

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Archives  News  Dustin Browder Discusses StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty